By Karen Hoffman, Senior Consultant
As a Career Consultant, I often receive requests from people who want to change careers but just don’t know how to start the process. The thought of something new is exciting, and while the process to change seems overwhelming, it is attainable if you have a well-thought out plan to support the journey. The plan, in its most basic format, consists of the following three steps:
- Dream Globally. The world is full of possibilities – take inventory of what drives passion;
- Plan Locally. Speak to professionals in your area(s) of interest, join industry-relevant events, and immerse yourself into the communities/industries you want to transition.
- Target Accordingly. Revamp your resume and update your LinkedIn profile and supporting marketing materials to reintroduce yourself to the world.
Although the work that goes into this type of plan is intense, the ROI is immeasurable. We do due diligence on so many of our corporate and role-specific responsibilities, don’t we owe it to ourselves to do due diligence for our own career transition and exploration? Should you accept this challenge, you will need to commit time, have patience and develop a well, thought-out plan with micro-goals.
The work involved in an active, in-depth career exploration campaign can be overwhelming and arduous, leading self-doubt and becoming the bane of your existence. However, it can also be exciting, intriguing, and liberating with a bright light at the end of the tunnel.
I am a self-proclaimed risk-adverse individual who has gone through career transition and reinvention herself, and I want to assure you that, rather than live in a trapped existence, career change is not only doable but also essential to transition from survival to bliss. After all, the average workday encompasses more than a third of our daily life – joy is within reach if your commitment is unwavering.
This leads us to the most commonly asked question is: How to begin?
The easiest and most cost-effective first step is simply to find an exploration model or template that is robust and provides exercises, guidance, and a sequential format to help you map and walk through the journey with defined goals. Googling keywords like “career exploration” will open your world to a variety of accessible resources and give you a good starting point.
Some of the content I highly recommend are college and university sites that focus specifically on career exploration and planning. One note of caution: although these links are helpful, they are also degree driven; Try desperately not to decide on your next occupation based on the education you don’t have; this will interrupt and/or impede the process (trust me, it’s easy to go to that place!). What I like to focus on with these sites, in particular, is that they are not industry-specific, they are applicable to any age/stage, and they incorporate clear and concise exercises that promote and guide the user to transition success.
Any exploration program (or online resource) should include these fundamental tools:
- Self-assessment including a skills inventory: preferences, specializations, interests, possibilities, passions, values, qualities and an open mind to what inspires you;
- Market assessment including information related to industry trends, pay scales, demand, competition;
- Concrete guidance on how to conduct informational interviews with professionals in the industries you are targeting to make well-informed decisions.
Some of the other things to consider as you move forward:
- Create a variety of targeted resumes;
- Use language to support the journey of your exploration and your reason for change in your face-to-face conversations, networking opportunities, and marketing documents;
- Reinvent your LinkedIn profile and networking campaign to reflect and introduce the new you.
Although career transition can be daunting, dedicating thoughtful analysis and quality time to reinventing yourself can be the first step to a better and happier work life. Carpe diem!
Karen Hoffman is a Senior Consultant with Feldman Daxon Partners.
- On April 18, 2018